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The Fluffy Farm

The Fluffy Farm

The Fluffy Farm


Each spring, things become rather fluffy on our little fiber farm. After a year’s growth, our sheep wear thick woolen coats that have kept them toasty warm through the cold winter months. However, as the summer heat approaches, these lovely coats quickly become miserably hot burdens to the animals if they are not sheared. We shear our sheep once per year in the spring. Not only does this timeframe give the animals relief as the weather warms, but it also allows ample time for the animals to regrow their warm coats before the cold weather returns.

PRE-SHEARING
I’m always struck by the beauty of sheep in the spring when their fleeces are at their fullest.
After rummaging around in the barn and grazing pastures for an entire year, the outer layers of the wool can be quite dirty and full of bits of hay and straw and other matter. (After the animals are sheared, the wool goes through an extensive cleaning process before we spin it into yarn.)
Last year, we added two Jacob lambs, named Albert and Henrietta, to our little flock. They are just over a year old and are ready for their first shearing.

SHEARING PROCESS
I’m often asked if shearing hurts our sheep. If done correctly, the answer is no. The process of shearing is much like getting a buzz cut with a pair of clippers. If done incorrectly, however, there is a risk of gouging and cutting the animal’s skin. If the sheep are mishandled during the process, they will fight to get away and shearing becomes a stressful and risk-filled endeavor for both the animal and the shearer. This is why we have so much appreciation for our shearer, Adam Roehm. Not only is he able to expertly shear a sheep in minutes, but Adam also has an incredible ability to calm the sheep during the process. It is actually amazing to watch how quickly they relax in his arms. There is no fighting or kicking to get away. They just lie back and enjoy the haircut.

POST SHEARING
Shearing instantly transforms the sheep from beautiful to a bit comical. However, looking a little silly is well worth the cool comfort that shearing offers the sheep during the hot summer months.
Strawberry Blue Farm is a flower and fiber farm located in Tecumseh. Their dried floral décor can be found at The Matthews House in downtown Tecumseh. F @strawberrybluefarm strawberrybluefarm.com

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